Six former employees of Washington’s NFL franchise leveled new allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against team owner Dan Snyder on Thursday — with one claiming the owner instructed the team’s video department to splice together a sexually suggestive video of cheerleaders exposing their private areas.
In a roundtable hearing with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, former cheerleaders Melanie Coburn and Tiffani Johnston recounted their own experiences with Snyder, accusing the owner of ruling “by fear.”
According to Coburn, Snyder had the final say over who made the cheerleading squad and fired women despite their skill “because they weren’t the prettiest, in his opinion.”
“An NFL owner who hired and fired employees based solely on their looks, it’s despicable,” she said.
Brad Baker, a former video production manager for the team — then known as the Redskins, rebranded the Washington Football Team, followed by the Commanders — recalled Snyder ordering employees in 2008 to edit cheerleader calendar shoot footage to create a “Good Bits” video featuring nude images of the women.
“While passing through the editing suite. I saw several images on both the editing monitor and the monitor of our tape deck that featured the cheerleaders posing for their photoshoot,” Baker said. “But it was like outtakes, and their breasts and pubic areas were exposed.”
“It became crystal clear that my worst suspicions were true,” Baker added. “The video department had been told to edit together lewd footage of the cheerleaders at the request of Dan Snyder.”
Coburn said she and her colleagues had “trusted” team personnel to “capture the footage and keep it safe.”
“Little did we know, they were zooming in on private parts and keeping cameras rolling during costume changes,” he said. “I’ve cried with the women in these videos, as they explained the horror of seeing themselves in what is essentially a soft porn video soundtrack to Dan Snyder’s favorite bands.”
When asked if the perpetrators have been removed from the organization, Johnston replied firmly, “Absolutely not.”
“It all started from the top with Dan Snyder,” she said.
Baker and Emily Applegate, a former marketing coordinator for the team, slammed the NFL for making public a 200-plus page report in the “Deflategate” scandal involving legendary quarterback Tom Brady, but not releasing anything about harassment allegations involving Washington.
“Two decades of sexual harassment concludes with nothing,” Applegate said. “The NFL is showing us their complete lack of respect for women, for their employees, and for the culture of our country.”
The roundtable also featured testimonials from Anna Nunez, a former business development coordinator, and Rachel Eagleson, a former intern who was promoted to manage of premium client services with the team.
Snyder has owned the team since 1999 and is regarded as one of the worst owners in the NFL, if not all of professional sports.
One day before the roundtable, other former employees of the football team came forward on HBO’s “Real Sports Podcast” with additional allegations, accusing Snyder of turning a blind eye to harassment or abusing his employees himself.
“Mr. Snyder was sitting there … a couple of others,” one former employee who went by the name Denise said. “One of my friends, she went to pick up something that he had dropped and, I can’t even say the word gentleman, one of the guys sitting there groped her butt as she went to pick it up innocently. And Snyder chuckled and took a puff of his cigar. … And then probably seven minutes later another man, you know, brushed his arm against my breast. And a few minutes later another man said, ‘Hey, meet me in this suite back here in the corner.’
“The examples are just — they’re endless,” added “Denise.” “And that’s in Snyder’s — that’s in the owner’s suite. That’s — Snyder’s right there. It’s happening.”